In an important step for domestic human rights yesterday the Department of State created a new website in connection with its participation in the United Nations Human Rights Council’s Universal Periodic Review process. This process involves a review of the human rights records of each of the 192 UN Member States once every four years. The United States own human rights record will be reviewed in December of next year based on a report that the government will submit, as well as input from various civil society organizations.
To check out the website created, click here. An important feature of the new website will be a standard “inbox” in which ideas, comments and analysis from civil society on issues relating to human rights can be sent. They are also committed to an outreach process to engage with organizations, including not-profits, citizens groups and grassroots organizations.
The Department of State hopes that “this website will facilitate communication between civil society and the United States government before, during, and after the preparation of the U.S. report to the UN Human Rights Council.”
The creation of this website shows signs of a real dedication around the issues of human rights both here at home in the United States and abroad. It also is promising that they are engaging the communities that are involved in this issue and inviting them to be a part of the process. Let’s hope that it remains as transparent a process as possible, and that it is only the first of many steps in creating a framework of a domestic human rights agenda.